It's a Thursday night and your big English paper is due the next day. Determined to finish it at a reasonable hour of the night (or early morning), you plug in your headphones and get to work. Before you know it, over an hour has gone by and you've been listening to the same song on repeat the entire time.
I can't possibly be the only person who willingly listens to the same song or select number of songs on repeat over and over and over again until the lyrics are stuck in my head for eternity... right? If you're like me and have this slightly annoying habit, have no fear! Believe it or not, there is an actual scientific reason why many of us prefer to to keep clicking that repeat button.
According to professor Elizabeth Margulis, the writer behind On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind, becoming familiar with a song allows our mind to engage in "virtual participation," as though we are the ones actually singing the song. A similar experience can be achieved by watching the same movie or reading the same book over and over as well. The sense of anticipation we feel when we can predict what a song will sound like next is not only satisfying for our brain, but the familiarity can also lend us a feeling of comfort.
In fact, it has been determined that “99 percent of all listening experiences involve listening to musical passages that the listener has heard before.” Apparently this habit is much more common than we often realize.
So the next time you're listening to a song for the umpteenth time, just remember that you're not alone in doing so. Plug in those headphones, crank up those tunes, and repeat, repeat, repeat to your heart's content!